Wednesday, June 23, 2021

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Raw Redux Does Hell in a Cell: Mickie Retains, Alicia Passes

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Going into last night’s Hell in a Cell pay per view, it didn’t seem like there was much expectation from the Divas Championship match. Considering the last time the Raw Divas were on pay per view, you can’t exactly blame fans for not caring too much about it. Plus WWE always has a tendency to announce Divas matches the week of the pay per view, showing how very little care and effort goes into booking the Divas on these events. I digress however, against the odds I felt Mickie James and Alicia Fox delivered a decent effort in a rare pay per view spot.

While not the most fast paced “let’s get all our spots in” match that Diva fans have become accustomed to, this match was slower paced perhaps due to the time given and allowed for a slow burn.

The match starts fairly slowly with a lockup as both women try to gain the upper hand, Mickie manages to hit a takedown on Alicia. As they break apart, Alicia throws some rather steely looks the way of the Divas Champion. Tyra would be proud of the facial work. Another lockup with Alicia taking the lead now, with an arm lock but the veteran manages to counter with a cartwheel and a legsweep. Alicia kicks out of a pin and we are back to the glances between the challenger and champion.

Mickie nicely counters a hip toss into a monkey flip and walks into lefts and rights from the champ. Snapmare followed by a low dropkick, which was executed and sold nicely. Another nearfall and another kick out followed by a neckbreaker. Mickie then goes up top, I’m assuming for a Thesz Press, but Alicia manages to throw her off. An overzealous Alicia tries to pin Mickie not once, but twice, showing her desire for the Divas Title. Alicia then applies a very nice submission move, a chinlock while digging her knee into the back of Mickie’s neck. I like the innovation there. Mickie begins to fight back, launching at her but Alicia counters into a lovely tilt-a-whirl backbreaker followed by a Maryse-esque taunt, not feeling it Ms Foxy. Alicia then wraps her legs around Mickie in another submission move while hitting her viciously with her arms. Mickie begins elbowing her way out of the move, Alicia hits her with a knee to the face. It seems like fatigue is beginning to set in for both Divas here.

Mickie comes back with a few forearms and clotheslines followed by her leg scissors from the corner. Mickie again goes to the top for a Thesz Press and this time connects. This leads to a setup for her tornado DDT finisher, however Alicia holds her ground backing Mickie into the corner. Alicia then hits a northern lights suplex and goes for a pin, the arch on her suplex is beautiful. Mickie kicks out of the pin, Alicia sets up her scissors kick but Mickie wisely moves out of the way. Mickie then sets her up for the DDT again and this time connects; that DDT makes me cringe everytime I see it! It looks sick and very effective but in a botched way. It looks as though Alicia couldn’t lift Mickie up for the move. Insert your own jokes here.

Honestly, I felt that somewhat botched DDT was the low point of the match as the work had been solid up until that point. Even then, like I said, the DDT looked sick so I guess there’s some consolation to be had.

It wasn’t exactly a big, boisterous battle of epic proportions but I felt it was a solid match and both Divas did a good job. I felt this match was more of a test for Alicia than anything else, to see if she can handle the spotlight on a pay per view and I think she more than held her own. Her northern lights suplex, tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and her usual great selling shone here. Alicia made a solid effort on her first real pay per view outing and I think she passes said test. Even though Divas are rarely on pay per view, I guess it’s important for the stars they want to push to be able to handle that ‘big time’ feel of being on the card.

I didn’t see Alicia winning the title last night, but I do think the match was an indicator as to where WWE wanted to go next with her and Mickie. If the match was bad, drop it and move onto the next thing [perhaps Mickie-Beth] but if it was decent, which I thought it was, they would continue it. I guess we’ll get our answer tonight on Raw. For me personally, judging from last night, I do hope they continue the Alicia push. If they do, I would think the title will be around Alicia’s waist sooner or later. They usually don’t trigger title changes in the first encounter, so perhaps in the next match or one down the line. Mickie has iffy chemistry with most girls — it’s either there or it’s not, I thought she had better chemistry with Alicia than she has had with some of her past challengers. That’s a good sign.

I think there’s more that can be developed here, for example personality and character for Alicia. I’m not loving the whole Maryse-esque posing thing, I really do enjoy her ‘preppy’ humour [“OHMAGAWDDDDD”]. I’d love to see her doing more stuff like that, sort of like Chastity from 10 Things I Hate About You.

Decent effort and I look forward to them working together some more.

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